I always smile when I think back to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I haven’t thought about it in a long time, but this morning’s commute brought that old memory right back.
When I was in 4th grade, each student had to write a 4-5 page report of the career path we hoped to take. As I recall it was towards the end of the year and the report was to account for a large part of our grade. My classmates chose doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers – the majority of them being the more ‘normal’ career choices.
When the time came to turn in our reports, I asked my mother to look mine over beforehand. “A race-car driver?” she asked. I answered very seriously, “I know one day there will be women race-car drivers and maybe I’ll be one of them.” I remember detailing Richard Petty and his career, and Cale Yarborough as well.
More than anything, I wish I still had that report. I got an A.
I didn’t grow up to be that race-car driver – at least not professionally. In all seriousness, at the time I yearned to do it and furthermore believed I could do it. It’s good to have those hopes and dreams as a kid, to believe that you can do something and perhaps even be the first of your kind to do it. In this crazy day we’re in, I wonder how many poverty-stricken children have their hopes and dreams crushed by the stress of the rough economic times. Sometimes hopes and dreams are all you have to hang on to, and it could be the one thing that pushes you forward. Life just seems so much harder now than it was back then, in simpler times.
So what spawned the memory of that 4th grade report?
On my two-lane highway this morning. Eyes dart up ahead left, up ahead right. Scrutinize, which lane’s faster. I can judge speed like a human radar. I want up front. Sunday drivers. Feels free up front. Open air. I love my car. My car loves me back. Oh yeah. Picked the right lane.